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Fourteenth lecture: Constantine Sandis: Wittgenstein & Friends on Action and the Will
October 28, 2015 @ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
In this talk I re-visit the later Wittgenstein’s remarks on action and the will in the retrospective light of the philosophies of action which were subsequently developed, in particular those of Ryle, Anscombe, von Wright, R. Taylor, Melden, and Davidson. I shall be arguing that while we should endorse Wittgenstein’s specific brand of anti-volitionism, we should do so by resisting the unhealthy direction that both volitionist and anti-volitionist philosophies of action have since taken. More specifically, I try to show that although we should reject the notion of ‘willing’ as an ‘inner mental’ act whose intended effect is a bodily movement, it doesn’t follow that we should dispense with the concept of willing altogether, replacing it with talk of action re-descriptions. Rather, we need to recognize the absurdity of asking how my raising my arm is related to my arm’s rising in the first place.
About the Speaker
Constantine Sandis is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. His research focuses primarily on the philosophy of action and related issues concerning human understanding. It is largely influenced by the writings of Wittgenstein, Anscombe, and Hegel. Constantine is the author of The Things We Do and Why We Do Them (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and editor or co-editor of a number of volumes including Philosophy of Action: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell, with J. Dancy, 2015), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action (Wiley Blackwell, with T. O' Connor, 2010), Hegel on Action (Palgrave Macmillan, with A. Laitinen, 2010), New Essays on the Explanation of Action (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Cultural Heritage Ethics (Open Book Publishers, 2014), and Human Nature (Cambridge University Press, with M.J. Cain, 2012). He is currently writing a book on Understanding Oneself and Others (Yale University Press) and another on Wittgenstein's remark about the talking lion (for Bloomsbury). He is the editor of Bloomsbury's Why Philosophy Matters and Palgrave Macmillan's Philosophers in Depth series.